A Foreign Prophet
Solzhenitsyn and American Culture: The Russian Soul in the West edited by David P. Deavel and Jessica Hooten Wilson
David P. Deavel and Jessica Hooten Wilson have edited an impressive volume of essays that continues the work of Edward E. Ericson, Jr., in showing that Solzhenitsyn addresses questions of truth in ways that speak directly to the abiding challenges faced by American culture. One imagines that many Americans today have at most a passing acquaintance with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as a Soviet dissident whose literary works exposed and criticized the horrors of Communist totalitarianism in Russia. Few, however, have thought deeply about what it means to engage his work in the context of their own society.
To do that, one must have more than a passing acquaintance with the wide-ranging and profound body of Solzhenitsyn's work, which is integrally related to Russian intellectual and cultural traditions that are typically little-known in the United States. The 21 essays contained in Solzhenitsyn and American Culture engage many dimensions ofSolzhenitsyn's project in ways that illuminate his ongoing relevance for discerning the task of how to live with virtue and integrity in the cultural setting of contemporary America.
Reviewing a collection of so many fine essays presents challenges, as commenting on every contribution would preclude analysis of sufficient depth. A better approach is to investigate some of the common themes of the chapters that get to the heart of the relationship between Solzhenitsyn's work and American culture.
Moral Responsibility Before God
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Philip LeMasters is Professor of Religion at McMurry University and pastor of Saint Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church in Abilene, Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from Duke University and studies Orthodox moral theology and social ethics.
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